Von Wafer for Taurean Green

It has been reported many places by now that the Denver Nuggets have traded little-used Von Wafer to the Blazers for Taurean Green.

Green was the high-scorer and emotional leader of the two-time NCAA champion Florida Gators. He's an excellent shooter, and a feisty competitor. When you talk to basketball people who have seen him play, they all rave about Green for any number of reasons -- despite the fact that he is small for the NBA.

Green was caught in a minutes trap on a Portland team that loves to play Brandon Roy at point guard, while also having Steve Blake, Jarrett Jack, Sergio Rodriguez, and Finnish prospect Petteri Koponen in the mix.

Wafer, on the other hand, is the classic NBA enigma. He is blatantly athletic, and David Thorpe, who has worked with Wafer, says he is an extremely talented shooter. Yet in stints with the Lakers, Clippers, and Nuggets over the last two and half seasons, he has yet to convince a coaching staff to let him have any minutes.

"He has NBA talent," says Thorpe, "that is certain. But he has never been an NBA player. He has to add that 'je ne sais quoi' that turns talent into bankable production. That said, I'm not sure he ever really has had that 20-plus minutes a night it takes to figure out if you can play at this level. And he has been great in summer league and the D-League."

Thorpe suggest that Portland has recently managed to develop Travis Outlaw from a talented player into a productive one -- perhaps Portland has designs on doing the same for Wafer.

If that's to happen, it will likely have to happen quickly: Wafer is a free agent at the end of the year, and with five picks in the upcoming draft and Rudy Fernandez likely coming from Europe, there's a lot of competition for roster spots in Portland.

On Blazers.com, Kevin Pritchard alluded to the injury to James Jones, saying "we had a positional need to fill with some of the injuries we're having to endure and with Von Wafer we think we're getting a player who can provide us with some offensive firepower."